27 new SUVs, pick­ups ‘will not drive’ growth

Kisumu res­i­dents fault county for buy­ing new ve­hi­cles while con­trac­tors have not been paid for months. ‘They live in the county head­quar­ters cor­ri­dors, beg­ging for their cash’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Nyanza - FAITH MATETE @fay­matete

The Kisumu govern­ment has been taken to task to ex­plain why it bought 27 new ve­hi­cles a year to the elec­tions.

The ve­hi­cles in­clude 25 Ford Ranger dou­ble cab­ins, one Ever­est and a Suzuki Grand Vitara. Res­i­dents say many projects have stalled for lack of funds.

Kisumu City Res­i­dence Voice chair­man Audi Ogada said, “The county is haunted by poor ser­vice. It has debts with con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers. Some of them are wal­low­ing in poverty, while oth­ers live on the county cor­ri­dors for months beg­ging for pay­ment.”

He said most county de­part­ments are un­der­staffed.

Ogada said res­i­dents should be hired be­fore the govern­ment thinks of buy­ing ve­hi­cles.

“We re­call some­time back there were some ve- hi­cles pur­chased and in­ter­views for driv­ers done. To date, we don’t know where the ve­hi­cles went. The driv­ers were never em­ployed,” he said.

Ogada said some county ve­hi­cles are used for per­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I feel some­body has a stake in this mat­ter and I to­tally dis­agree with the pur­chase based on the fact that other ur­gent is­sues need to be re­solved first,” he said.

A county em­ployee said the ve­hi­cles will be used for rev­enue col­lec­tion. He said each of the seven sub­coun­ties will get a ve­hi­cle.

The re­main­ing ve­hi­cles could be used by de­part­ments.

East Seme MCA Ag­grey Ogosi ques­tioned the tim­ing of the pur­chase. “We can­not have a county that keeps buy­ing ve­hi­cles be­cause the ve­hi­cles are adding to the county’s op­er­a­tion and main­tance costs. It means the county will have lit­tle, if any­thing, left for projects that will ben­e­fit res­i­dents” he said.

Ogosi said the county has so many ve­hi­cles that some are given to nonem­ploy­ees.

County chief Fi­nance of­fi­cer Khepas Kasera was un­avail­able for com­ment.

In 2013, the county was put on the spot over the pur­chase of new ve­hi­cles for ex­ec­u­tives.

/ FAITH MATETE

The ve­hi­cles bought by the Kisumu govern­ment park out­side county head­quar­ters yes­ter­day

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